Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Species Speech

Species Speech, 2015
marble, wood, acrylic
97 x 55 x 15 cm

Lassú Chair

In 1974, while editor of Italian design magazine Casabella, Alessandro Mendini set fire to a chair. The photograph of the resulting conflagration graced the front cover of the magazine. Mendini's ritual destruction of his own design can be read in various ways: as a comment on the ephemeral nature of architecture, as an example of design as media performance and as a personal comment on destruction and mortality.
What's clear is that Mendini's act was one of the very few examples in design where the demise of the object was intrinsic to its meaning. It is a fitting way to end this lament because Postmodernism was a movement that always acknowledged its own temporality and was obsessed by ruins, fragments and remains. Despite its claims to popularity and a shiny commercialism, Postmodernism was actually morbidly obsessed with the dead and (nearly) buried remains of architecture and culture. This is actually one of the most interesting things about it.
Contrary to popular misconception, materiality was very important to it. It's just that it also acknowledged the alchemical process by which that materiality gains cultural meaning, as well as how that meaning changes over time. Sometimes it disappears altogether. And in disappearing, it gains another, perhaps more permanent kind of meaning.
Charles Holland

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bird House Play

Bird House Play, 2015
Wood, paint
143 x 113 x 10 cm

The Jewel Stair's Grievance

The jeweled steps are already quite white with dew,
It is so late the dew soaks my gauze stockings,
And I let down the crystal curtain
And watch the moon through the clear autumn.
Note.—Jewel stairs, therefore a palace. Grievance, therefore there is something to complain of. Gauze stockings, therefore a court lady, not a servant who complains. Clear autumn, therefore he has no excuse on account of the weather. Also she has come early, for the dew has not merely whitened the stairs, but soaks her stockings. The poem is especially prized because she utters no direct reproach.
Pound’s poem  based on Li Bai’s “Yujie yuan 玉階怨 [Jade Staircase Lament], 1705.

Li Bai and Ezra Pound's "Jewel Stair's Grievance"'

In 1913, Ezra Pound began working on a new series of poems based on Ernest Fenollosa’s unpublished notes on classical Chinese poetry. 1 These poems would become the core of Cathay, published in 1915. A volume of translations of classical Chinese poems by 李白 Li Bai (sometimes romanized in older literature as Li Po, 701 – 762), and others, Cathay represented a watershed moment in English Modernist poetry.Pound’s use of Li Bai’s Japanese sobriquet, “Rihaku,” points to his double alienation from his source materials. 

He could not access the Chinese-language originals, nor could he understand the Japanese source materials that formed the foundation of Ernest Fenollosa’s (1853-1908) manuscripts. Fenollosa’s translations were created, according to Eric Hayot, “with the help of a Professor Mori and a Mr. Ariga.” Steven Yao offers a slightly different account of how Pound became interested in classical Chinese poetry:
As the story goes, shortly after their initial meeting in London during the early autumn of 1913, Pound received from Mary McNeil Fenollosa a set of manuscripts produced by her late husband,
Ernest, who had died suddenly of a heart attack in 1908 after a distinguished, if not entirely unblemished, trans-Pacific career as a philosopher, cultural reformer, and historian and advocate of “Oriental” art in Japan and the United States. These manuscripts, which have come to be referred to collectively as “the Fenollosa notebooks,” record the efforts Ernest Fenollosa made studying various East Asian literary traditions, including both classical Chinese poetry and Japanese Noh drama, with distinguished Japanese scholars during one of his final visits to Japan in 1898 5 

Text by Cynthia Houng

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"This probably will not work"

Öffentliche Führung "This probably will not work"
Donnerstag, 30.07.15 / 19h

Noch bevor die Sommerferien beginnen, bieten wir eine kostenfreie, öffentliche Führung mit den Kuratoren durch die aktuelle Ausstellung “This probably will not work” an. Nachdem der Wetterbericht sommerliche 26 Grad voraussagt, begehen wir die Führung mit einem kalten Glas Weißwein und freuen uns, Euch die Ausstellung vorzustellen und ins Gespräch zu kommen
Lothringer13- Städtische Kunsthalle München

Monday, July 27, 2015

Το εκθεσιακό πρότυπο του σουρεαλισμού στη σημερινή επιμελητική πρακτική

“Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme”, Galérie Beaux-Arts, Georges Wildenstein. Paris, 1938

Μια σειρά από πρόσφατες επιμελητικές προτάσεις φαίνεται ότι αμφισβητούν την παραδοσιακή σχέση της μουσειολογίας με το ερευνητικό της αντικείμενο. Αυτές οι επιμέλειες τείνουν να απαρνούνται ένα συγκροτημένο πεδίο και εγείρουν ζητήματα αμφισβήτησης ενός καθολικού ερμηνευτικού μοντέλου. Ωστόσο, στο πέρασμα από τη συμβατή στη «νέα μουσειολογία», οι επιμελητές εξακολουθούν να αναζητούν πειστικές θεωρήσεις του αντικειμένου τους. Θα μπορούσε κάποιος να ισχυρισθεί ότι υπάρχει μια δέσμευση επιστημονικότητας ή και ψευτοεπιστημονικότητας, με την έννοια της συμβατικής επανάληψης της πληροφορίας σε ένα αναμενόμενο πλαίσιο αναφορών που ακολουθούν τις «μόδες» της εποχής;
Αν το μουσείο σήμερα αξιολογείται ως ένας χώρος συστηματικής έρευνας, εκπαίδευσης και πλήρους τεκμηρίωσης, ενώ παράλληλα η κυρίαρχη τάση της επιμέλειας ακολουθεί το πρότυπο αυτό ακόμη και εκτός του αυστηρά οριοθετημένου πεδίου του μουσείου, εκείνο που προκύπτει είναι ότι κάποιοι επιμελητές κουράζονται από το φαινόμενο της υπέρχρησης της εκπαιδευτικής διάστασης του αντικειμένου τους, και ανάμεσα σε άλλες επιλογές αναζητούν στα εγχειρίδια της πρωτοπορίας προτάσεις που αντιπαρατίθενται στο «εγκυκλοπαιδικό» βάρος του διαφωτισμού. 
Ένα εύλογο ερώτημα, που θέτει ζητήματα ηθικής της διαχείρισης του εκθεσιακού αντικειμένου, είναι για το εάν ένα συμβατικό κατά τα άλλα έργο μπορεί να εκτεθεί μ' ένα αιρετικό επιμελητικό σχεδιασμό, αποκτώντας μια διάσταση που να εξυπηρετεί τις ανάγκες των επιμελητών, πέρα από τις δικές του προθέσεις. Ωστόσο, είναι ευνόητο ότι αυτό συμβαίνει συχνά και δεν είναι απαραίτητα κακό ως «τέχνασμα», στο βαθμό που το έργο ανοίγεται σε διαφορετικές αναγνώσεις, που αναβαθμίζουν την υπόστασή του με αφηγήσεις που μπορεί να ήταν συμπληρωματικές ή χαμένες στο υποσυνείδητο της εικαστικής γραφής.

Διαβάστε περισσότερα
ΑΝΑΓΝΩΣΕΙΣ: Το εκθεσιακό πρότυπο του σουρεαλισμού στη σημερινή επιμελητική πρακτική : Αμετρία,  επιμέλεια έκθεσης: Nicoletta De Rosa, Alessandro Pasini, Tomaso Piantini, Πολύνα Κοσμαδάκη, Γιώργος Τζιρτζιλάκης, Μουσείο Μπενάκη
κείμενο : Κωστής Βελώνης

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan, 2015
wood, plywood, organic matter, chalk 
173 x 100 x 60 cm

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

This Probably Will Not Work

Unter dem Titel “This probably will not work” – ein Zitat des amerikanischen Künstlers Jimmie Durham – lud die Lothringer13 Halle drei Künstler ein, neue, ortsspezifische Arbeiten zu entwickeln. In Skulpturen, Installationen und Zeichnungen kreieren die Künstler Situationen, die Möglichkeiten des Scheiterns nicht ausschließen und vielmehr mit der Idee einer Utopie und ihrer Bedeutung für die Realität spielen.
Während der in Athen lebende Künstler Kostis Velonis sich in seinen Werken vorwiegend Visionen der Arbeiterbewegung damals und heute widmet, spielt der Schweizer Künstler Stefan Burger mit in München vorgefundenen Referenzen des Displays, die er in detaillierten Rauminstallationen inszeniert. Der Italiener Federico Delfrati verfolgt enthusiastisch neue Erfindungen und protokolliert spielerisch den Prozess der Realisierung. Die Mehrdeutigkeit der Aufgabe bleibt stets im Fokus seiner Wissenschaft.

with Stefan Burger, Federico Delfrati and Kostis Velonis
17. Juli – 13. September 2015
Lothringer13- Städtische Kunsthalle München

Alfred Jarry and Asger Jorn: The Epicurean Influence as Social “Swerve”

As the current conditions in global markets are in a potentially unstable situation the activation of Epicurus’ (341-270 BC) swerve (“Clinamen”) proves to be of some interest, since it introduces us into a mobile and liberating perception of things that corresponds to the risks of the financial hyper-capitalist structure. Epicurus’ positions are firmly opposed to Platonic cosmogony, given that in Plato’s only text on nature, Timaeus, real nature is a perfectly organized structure consisting of geometrical elements, such as spheres, pyramids, cubes, etc. In many ways, quantum mechanics, which describes the behavior of matter on molecular and atomic level, can be interpreted as a continuation of the atomic theory expounded by the philosophers of Atomism (Democritus, Leucippus), of which a late proponent, during the Hellenistic period, was Epicurus himself. The philosopher from Samos tried to relate physics and cosmogony with human nature. We would have to wait many centuries until modern physics confirmed the ancient materialists’ speculation on the atomic composition of matter.
Modern physics explains matter recognizing that atoms move in unpredictable directions. Epicurus idea of continually moving atoms that swerve (clinamen), following the inclination of a fundamental randomness, is already confirmed by the history of the discipline of quantum physics.

Alfred Jarry, “Véritable portrait de Monsieur Ubu”, woodcut for Ubu Roi, Paris, Éditions du Mercure de France, 1896

Text by Kostis Velonis
read more:

DMY Design Spots 2015: Pet Market at Galerie erstererster

Much as we adore our pets they can be troublesome. Be it the cat the refuses to move from your bed, the dog that chews your shoes, pillows, newspapers et al, or the sweary parrot embarrassing us at every (inopportune) moment. If only we could distract them. Maybe we should treat them better? Or at least treat them to better possessions, to objects that meet a standard of functionality and design quality that we demand from our objects. We’re not averse to claiming our pets are family members, why not put as much consideration into the objects they use on a daily basis as we put into those used by our other family members?
Open Cage by Dominik Hehl, as seen at Pet Market, Galerie erstererster, Berlin
Such, or at least similar, thoughts form the background to the exhibition Pet Market currently showing at Galerie erstererster in Berlin.
Pet Market began as semester project at the Kunsthochschule Kassel under the direction of Tanja Seiner, who is also curator of the exhibition. “I became aware that we are increasingly sharing our living spaces with animals, that there appears to be ever more pets in our lives”, explains Tanja, “and so I set my students the task of design a product for pets and humans, not just an object for the pet alone, not just an object for the human alone, but an object for both.”

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Help Desk

Help Desk, 2015
Wood, plywood, acrylic, felt 
150  x 42  x 30 cm

Sunday, June 28, 2015

How Freud’s Couch Became a Pop-Culture Phenomenon

In 1889 Sigmund Freud was still relatively new in his field, or what we’d call pre-Freudian Freud. At 33 years old, working as an assistant to another psychiatrist, he hadn’t had any of his big ideas yet.
Freud was mostly practicing hypnosis, which was a cutting-edge but controversial treatment. One day Freud gets a new patient, a very wealthy woman named Fanny Moser. Moser was struggling from all kinds of ailments—hysteria, sleeplessness, pain, and odd tics, and she had lots of doctors. When Moser came to Freud, he would have her lie down on a couch, just like he did with his other patients. A lot of hypnotists used couches to get patients into a more relaxed state, but Freud especially needed it because he was kind of a clumsy hypnotist.
Freud would tell Moser, “You’re very getting sleepy,” and she would insist that, no, in fact, she wasn’t. Instead, Moser wanted to talk. At first Freud would interrupt her with his theories, but she wasn’t having it. She wanted to tell him her stories. That’s when the light went on. Freud realized that if you just let patients talk and don’t say anything, they will let down their defenses, and the unconscious will be revealed. This is the moment when the pre-Freudian Freud becomes the Freudian Freud. The Freudian Freud’s new techniques and theories for therapy would come to be called “psychoanalysis,” and it would be embodied, in practice and popular culture, by a single piece of furniture: the couch. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Philosophers Football - Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus

"Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside." Monty Python Philosopher's football

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Porte-fenêtre à Collioure

Henri Matisse, Porte-fenêtre à Collioure, huile sur toile, 116,5 x 89 cm, 1914.

Scepticism about the Enlightenment project

Ο θεατρικός Δημήτρης Δημητριάδης. Εξερευνώντας τη δυνατότητα του αναπάντεχου

Αποτυπώνοντας μια πορεία δημιουργικής αλληλεπίδρασης είκοσι χρόνων, ο ανά χείρας τόμος αποτελεί ένα πρώτο εργαλείο προσέγγισης του συγγραφέα Δημήτρη Δημητριάδη ως δραματουργού, καθώς αρθρώνει το θεωρητικό πλαίσιο της ζωτικής σχέσης του με το θέατρο, που παραμένει ως προς σημαντικές περιοχές της ακόμη αδιερεύνητη.
Ταυτόχρονα προσφέρει αφορμή αναστοχασμού στα ευρύτερα ζητούμενα της σύγχρονης θεατρικής γραφής: Πώς εξελίσσεται η δραματική φόρμα; Μπορούμε να μιλάμε ακόμα γι’ αυτήν ως είδος και με ποιους όρους; Πώς απαντά και πώς θέλουμε να απαντά το θέατρο στην πραγματικότητα; Πώς συναντά η έννοια του «ποιητικού» την έννοια του «πολιτικού» θεάτρου; Ως προς τι διαφοροποιείται το θεατρικό κείμενο από τη δραματοποιημένη λογοτεχνία; Και από την άλλη, τι δυνατότητες προσφέρει στον σκηνοθέτη ένα αμιγώς θεατρικό κείμενο;
Τέτοια ερωτήματα θίγονται μεταξύ άλλων σ’ αυτή την πρώτη μονογραφία που αφιερώνεται στον διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένο πλέον έλληνα δραματουργό, που επιχειρεί ως νέος τραγικός να ξαναδώσει στο θέατρο τις ιλιγγιώδεις, τρομακτικές διαστάσεις του, να διανοίξει τη σκηνή εκ νέου στη δυνατότητα του αναπάντεχου.

 Δήμητρα Κονδυλάκη, Ο θεατρικός Δημήτρης Δημητριάδης. Εξερευνώντας τη δυνατότητα του αναπάντεχου, εκδοσεις Νεφελη, 2015

Sunday, June 14, 2015


Hostel, 2015
wood, acrylic, oil, marble, tissue,
74 x 59 x 24 cm

Shiny Front

Is it you, sadness? Maudit
chiffre ma tête

des grammes, de la raison
en grammes

Pas meilleur

Is that you, wayside station?
School patrol badge?

Overcoat with the shiny front?
Static hem?

Erin Mouré

Short Talk On Housing

Anne Carson, “Short Talk On Housing”, 1992

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Robert Rauschenberg's Endless Combinations

When you're Looking for the Robert Rauschenberg archive, everything starts to resemble a Rauschenberg. The chance juxtaposition of a vibrant yellow school bus next to a red Staples sign seems somehow intended, part of the artist’s grand design. So too might the pale lavender blossoms of wisteria that frame the gray painted door tucked away in a hardscrabble industrial zone of lots and chain-link fencing.

By Dan Chiasson, June 3, 2015 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Speakers' Domestic Corner

Speakers' Domestic Corner, 2015
wood, plywood, acrylic, oil, paper
33 x 21 x 26 cm

Thursday, June 11, 2015

International summit on domestic affairs

The conference adopts as a starting point the historic and cultural constitution of what has become established as “domestic” in the western historico-cultural narrative, the revision of which is being widely debated today. Do we need to revise our understanding of what “domestic” means, and which politics of household and budget management at different levels – from the private household to the region, the city, the planet – are yielded by such a shift in perspective?
Household and budget management is one thing above all else: a navigation between scarcity and surplus. Food, globalisation and politics are thereby inextricably linked. In the context of the summit, a second panel will therefore address the complex coherencies between bread and politics. If today there is talk of a “global food system”, this refers to the extensive geographies tied in with food, to the conditions of agricultural production and the huge consumption of resources that underpins this production. How to feed the growing global population is one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. Food politics range from urban agriculture initiatives and organic farming to dealing with the post-colonial geographies of food.
A third panel, “Towards a global domestic revolution”, discusses new models of work beyond the working society, which are already inherent in the complex practice of housekeeping. Flexible models of home-work, precarious and underpaid employment, creative work and work-related migration are already part of everyday working life in the 21st century. Global budgets combine the incomes of transnational work-related migration, home-work and family networks. Transnational households, co-working and sharing suggest other practices of conveying the essence of domestic work and re-evaluating it. They circumvent the social hierarchies inherent to the evaluation of domestic labour and thereby reveal perspectives for an emancipation of domestic work beyond the “working society”.

Closing of the Haushaltsmesse 2015 with the international summit on domestic affairs, “The world. One Household”
7 to 9 August 2015 in the complex of Masters’ Houses;   

Haushaltsmesse 2015: The art of housekeeping and budgeting in the 21st century

How can we live in a healthy and 

economical way in the future?


AMETRIA is the privilege of disproportion, of excess, the rejection of an overall vision, the error that turns out to be right. Out of the meeting of the Benaki Museum and the DESTE Foundation, works and objects become proofs of an impulse that, as a precise and determinate entity, takes part in the evolution of thought.
Totally uninterested in the values of community life, which promotes the virtues of measure and the happy mean, dismeasure is the expression of an original purposeless drive, which chooses neither to have nor not to have and whose sole intention is to be exercised without reserve. The degree of dismeasure is dependent on just how radical is the drive that expresses it.
When a drive that dominates the field of consciousness finds a particular form, it becomes instigation, stirring opposition or prompting imitation. If the imitation overcomes by impulse the inclination to restraint, an epidemic phenomenon occurs that forces the community to change its way of thinking and behavior and its common action. An order of dismeasure can be extended to the point of becoming a conventional value, triggering a series of effects from the social environment to the natural person.

Original Drawing by C. A. Doxiadis prepared for his article “The Future of Copenhagen: Considerations in the Abstract", 1963

AMETRIA is organized by the DESTE Foundation in collaboration with the Benaki Museum.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Paysage desertique

Johannes Peter Holzinger, Paysage desertique (maquette)

Death Denial

By Marc Parry, May 22, 2015

The Traveler and his Shadow

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cat's Cradle


Antonina Sofronova, “LOS”, 1920
Ink on paper, 28.8 x 21 cm

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

La Mer

Once in a while our table conversation might
concern the perception of the sea in Charles Trénet’s “La Mer”
which was recorded in the mid-forties.
I myself had grown up by an entirely different sea
but seemed to share
a sea which was not mine but yours:
I suggested that our perception
was determined by “a certain way of filming the sea”
which we associate with the forties –
black-and-white, of course, but above all
with slow, almost dawdling reflections of the sun,
single, slowly twinkling silver flashes
in the sea shot looking south,
in the sea at noon.
Black shadows in the foreground –
they make the soundless play of the sun
seem even more dazzling out at sea.
It is as if these dawdling reflections had given me access
to a world which was not mine –
for a moment I really believe
that communication is possible,
that the images have an inner life to convey,
see you on the Mediterranean beach:
the periphery is blurred but in the middle of the picture
the definition is so strong
that I see the glitter in the little girl’s eyes
where she stands in the glittering waves,
where she is overcome by the sea today,
by merely existing near a summer sea,
where without a doubt she hears voices shouting
though she cannot make out what they are saying in the surge
while the clouds imperceptibly have come to a halt
in the depth of the clearest of bays.

Jesper Svenbro
© Translation by John Matthias & Lars-Håkan Svensson

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Tirana Open 1

Tirana Open 1 presents the first of its kind initiative in the Balkans, bringing together under one umbrella an unprecedented array of Albanian and International cultural institutions presenting a rich multi-disciplinary program of exhibitions, events, and public interventions.
Reflecting on a city that is at once an old Roman center, Ottoman outpost, Italian Novecento archetype, Fascist utopian dream, an example of Stalinist brutalism, and finally, a model of contemporary (non) architecture run amok, Tirana Open 1 explores its locale as a vibrant lab of cultural hybridity and an alternative model for urban development and audience engagement.
Tirana Open 1 is an invitation to a pass-the-word that Tirana is the urban square that has no cultural barriers, but only porous borders of cultural belonging” says festival co- director Helidon Gjergji. “By inviting international cultural institutions to participate in this city-wide happening, we hope to make the local institutions and citizens of Tirana feel a bit like visitors in their own city, and to make visitors feel like citizens of Tirana. This is not a role play, but a playful reality.”

Kostis Velonis, How One Can Think Freely in the Shadow of a Temple, 2008, Video Mod HD, Duration : 2'45''

Pamur, the festival’s contemporary arts section, presents a special guest project by celebrated artist William Kentridge (South Africa), alongside a a juried competition of video art by prominent international and local artists, including Yuri Ancarani (Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino), Olivo Barbieri (MAXII, Rome), Henry Chapman (T293 Gallery, Naples), Donika Cina (Galeria e Vogël, Tirana), Alberto Di Fabio (Gagosian Gallery, London), Nathalie Djurberg (Museo Pascali, Polignano a Mare, DZT Collective (Stefano Romano & Eri Çobo) TICA (Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art, Tirana), Yllka Gjollesha (Zeta Gallery, Tirana), Elis Gjoni (Art Kontakt, Tirana), Felix Gmelin (Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art, Prishtina), Ibro Hasanovic (Tirana Art Lab, Tirana), Aurora Kalemi (Zenit Gallery, Tirana), Santiago Mostyn (Moderna Museet, Malmö), Alban Muja (Tulla Culture Center, Tirana), Marzena Nowak (Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin), Matilda Odobashi (FAB, Tirana), Anri Sala (Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Zurich), Sissi (MAM Foundation, Tirana), Cauleen Smith (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago), Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki), The Two Gullivers (Flutura Preka & Besnik Haxhillari) MAI (Marina Abramovic Institute, Hudson, New York), Nasan Tur (Blain/Southern Gallery, London), Nico Vascellari (The National Gallery of Arts, Tirana), Kostis Velonis (Kunsthalle Athena, Athens), Driant Zeneli (Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella). Granting an award named after the renown Albanian artist Danish Jukniu, competition jury includes Edoardo Bonaspetti (Mousse Magazine), Cathryn Drake (Artforum & Frieze Magazine), and Michele Robecchi (Phaidon). Artist Adrian Paci (Shkodër/Milano) will be delivering a featured artist talk.

Tirana Open 1 Directors: Arlinda Dudaj, Helidon Gjergji & Vladimir Myrtezai- Grosha. Tirana Open 1 is organized by Tirana Open, under the auspices of Edi Rama, Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Albania. 

 6-13 May 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On the Shepherds' Play

On the Shepherds' Play, 2011-15
Video, duration 1'00''.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What is it Good For ?

Alice Becker-Ho and Guy Debord playing the Game of War, 1977.

By Nathan Heller

Comme aux jeux de hasard

Comme aux jeux de hasard
Des règles sont posées
On va tenter la chance
faire preuve de la patience
on paiera pour voir

Comme aux jeux de hasard
Quand les des sont lancés
On les regarde rouler
Mais les jeux sont faits
Il est déjà trop tard

Alice Becker-Ho,1998


Lunch, 2014-15
Wood, paint, fabric, plaster, acrylic, oil, steel
63 x 56 x 27 cm

Monday, April 20, 2015

John Keats and ‘negative capability’

In December 1817 John Keats was returning from the Christmas pantomime with his friends Charles Wentworth Dilke and Charles Brown. On the walk home, he later told his brothers George and Tom, he got into a ‘disquisition’ with Dilke on a number of subjects:
several things dovetailed in my mind, & at once it struck me, what quality went to form a Man of Achievement especially in Literature & which Shakespeare possessed so enormously – I mean Negative Capability, that is when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason – Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half knowledge.[1]
It is a famous passage; and it is entirely characteristic of Keats that he should come up with one of his most telling phrases (‘Negative Capability’) in such an impromptu fashion, without preamble or lengthy explanation. His language is not immediately clear, but richly suggestive and idiosyncratic.

What does Keats mean by ‘negative capability’? Clearly, he is using the word ‘negative’ not in a pejorative sense, but to convey the idea that a person’s potential can be defined by what he or she does not possess – in this case a need to be clever, a determination to work everything out. Essential to literary achievement, Keats argues, is a certain passivity, a willingness to let what is mysterious or doubtful remain just that. His fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, he suggests, would do well to break off from his relentless search for knowledge, and instead contemplate something beautiful and true (‘a fine verisimilitude’) caught, as if by accident, from the most secret part (‘Penetralium’) of mystery. The experience and intuitive appreciation of the beautiful is, indeed, central to poetic talent, and renders irrelevant anything that is arrived at through reason. Keats ends his brief discussion of negative capability by concluding that ‘with a great poet the sense of Beauty overcomes every other consideration, or rather obliterates all consideration’.
Article by Stephen Hebron

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser

Kaspar trying to teach a cat to walk on its hind legs.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle), 1974.
Writ./Dir. by Werner Herzog.


Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Untitled (Composition with Squares, Circle, Rectangles, Triangles), 1918
Pearl cotton, coloured dyes , 61 x 62.5 cm

Friday, April 17, 2015

Incontro ravvicinato

Corrado Calabrò

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rabbit with Axe

Gorleston Psalter, England 14th century, British Library, Add 49622, fol. 13v

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Edward Weston and Mabel Dodge Luhan Remember D. H. Lawrence and Selected Carmel-Taos Connections

This article is in essence a chapter of a book in progress on the familial relationships between the Schindler and Weston families, from their separate Chicago years through their bohemian social circles in Los Angeles and Carmel in the 1920s and 1930s. For now I plan to end the book in 1938 when Weston married Charis Wilson and built his home in Carmel Highlands and the Schindlers divorced and began living separate lives under the same roof in their iconic RMS-designed Kings Road House. My working title for the book is The Schindlers and the Westons: An Avant-Garde Friendship. Their fascinatingly interwoven lives and relationships remained avant-garde to the end. As always, I welcome your feedback on any of my pieces.

Text  by  John Crosse

Taos Pueblo, R. M. Schindler photo, October 1915.